Mountain Way School is an early childhood learning community serving the needs of Morris Plains’ children in preschool through second grade. Our school philosophy embraces each child entering school and recognizes his or her unique needs, abilities, aptitudes, and interests. A creative, caring, and competent professional staff encourages every child to learn, grow, and flourish within a challenging yet supportive environment. Children develop positive self-esteem coupled with a love for learning, acquisition of knowledge, and problem solving skills.

The academic program at Mountain Way is comprehensive and enriched with instruction in the subject areas of language arts literacy, mathematics, social studies, and science being implemented by classroom teachers. Special emphasis is placed on the language arts areas of writing, speaking and listening. Health, physical education, music, art, creative literacy and STEAM skills are coordinated by certified area specialists who meet regularly with each class. Our STEM and Innovation Lab provides a critical and enriching learning environment for all students in Kindergarten through Second Grade. Two Preschool Classes serve the needs of our youngest children, and one classroom at each age level is co-taught by a general education teacher and special education teacher, providing a great opportunity for all students to learn together.

Language Arts Literacy is the central and constant focus of instruction in the primary grades and encompasses reading, grammar, creative writing, spelling, and speaking. Our Balanced Literacy Approach uses both Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop, as well as Guided Reading practices and Fundations phonics program, to assist in developing foundational and independent reading and writing skills in the heterogeneously grouped classrooms. Higher order thinking is a focus during classroom read-aloud time. With an emphasis on both reading/writing skills as well as the art of storytelling, our students immerse themselves in the worlds of fiction and non-fiction as they explore the world.

Mathematics instruction concentrates on the student’s ability to solve problems with a balance between skills, understanding, and appreciation of objectives. Houghton Mifflin’s Go Math is the vehicle used to assist students in preparation for the math skills needed in the 21st Century.

Science at each grade level emphasizes skill development, problem solving, and fundamental concepts via a hands-on approach to learning. STEM kits and a problem-based approach to learning will be integrated into our science program this year. Social Studies is organized around an expanding communities model. Children view their role in a variety of groups ranging from a family member to a citizen of the world. In physical education and health class, the emphasis is on those activities that involve hand-eye coordination, loco-motor activities, gross motor development, good sportsmanship, and the introduction of basic health and wellness concepts. Art offers creative expression of life’s experiences and reflects the growth and needs of each child’s personality. The music program strives to encourage the students’ appreciation of music as a form of lasting enjoyment and a means of relaxation, while teaching students the fundamental skills needed to play music through the use of developmentally appropriate instruments. The library/media program offers a wide variety of experiences. Introduction to library and research skills, group exposure to various forms of literature, guidance in independent reading, and the children’s access to technology are all key components of this program.

The students of Mountain Way School are learning early about community involvement and the value of being citizens in a democracy. We were extremely proud of our children's efforts this past year in collecting donations for various altruistic causes. Periodically throughout the year food drives are also held. Children have enthusiastically donated items to a local animal shelter, decorated for the holidays in town, and collected new toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive. In addition, the children themselves select ways to volunteer and contribute to the community through our Character Education Program. Throughout the year, children make cheerful pictures that are sent via “Color a Smile” to share with residents of nursing homes or to shut-ins as part of the Meals on Wheels Program.

Mountain Way School is truly an exciting and challenging learning environment where children learn, grow, and flourish as individuals. This is due, in large measure, to a team of dedicated staff and an involved parent community who cooperatively focus on meeting the needs of all members of the learning community.